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Diabetic Eye Exams

Diabetes is a condition that can involve the eyes just like other organs in the body. The chance of having diabetic complications in the eye is directly related to how uncontrolled the diabetes is and how long the patient has had it. In addition, concurrent high blood pressure can also increase the chance of getting diabetes related eye problems. Because of the possible occurrence of diabetic eye complications, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends yearly diabetic eyes exams for all Type I and Type II diabetics.

Refractive Error

Fluctuating blood sugars can make the lens in the eye swell and therefore change its ability to focus properly. This can cause frequent changes in glasses prescriptions and episodes of blurry vision. When your ophthalmologist performs a complete diabetic eye exam, this refractive error can be detected. The best treatment is tight blood sugar control rather than continuing to change glasses prescriptions.

Cataracts

Elevated blood sugar can cause the formation of cataracts or accelerate the growth of pre-existing cataracts. Often, these cataracts do not completely go away even with tighter sugar control.

Symptoms

Diagnosis

A comprehensive dilated exam including refraction and bright light testing (BAT) is necessary to diagnose cataracts, assessing the degree of cataract formation is important in deciding the next step.

Treatment

Cataract surgery has undergone incredible changes over the last 20 years. It is now performed on an outpatient basis with a stitchless micro-incision technique that takes only 20-30 minutes. It is important to remember that after surgery, diabetic patients can have slower wound healing and a higher risk of swelling in the back of the eye.


Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes can also affect the blood vessels of the back layer of the eye or the retina. Chronically elevated blood sugars causes three main problems in the retina:

Symptoms

Diagnosis

Treatment